The former chairman of Cornwall Air Ambulance Trust has died and his wife is seriously ill in hospital after a road crash in Australia.

The charity announced the news on its website this afternoon, saying: “Cornwall Air Ambulance Trust is very sad to confirm the news of the tragic death of our former chairman, Mr Harold Chapman.”

Harold and his wife Pamela, who was also a trustee, had recently achieved their ambition of retiring to Australia and being reunited with close family members.

In the past few days they were involved in a road traffic collision near to their new home, which claimed Harold’s life. The charity is awaiting news on Pamela, who was very seriously injured and remains in hospital.

A spokesperson for the trust said: “Harold was a very special and highly regarded man, who volunteered over 15 years as both honorary treasurer and later chairman of this charity.

“He and Pam stepped down from the board of trustees only a few weeks ago, and were just beginning their new lives in Australia.

“Everyone is devastated and our thoughts and prayers are with Pamela and the other family members.”

A book of condolence has been opened up at the charity’s headquarters in Newquay and anyone who would like to write in it can do so during office hours Monday to Friday.

The book, which has been donated by Newquay funeral directors AC Richards, will be sent to the couple’s family members in Australia in due course.